Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Mom

My dear Mother, Ruthe Alyce Mayberry entered Heaven's gate today, October 31, 2012.

She was born August 4, 1916, to J.G. (Gary) and Ruth Herbert Stevenson in Elk Horn, Iowa, on the family farm near Atlantic, Iowa. She had two older sisters, Gretchen and Marjorie. She grew up during the Great Depression, which shaped much of who she was. She was raised on a farm and was very active in 4-H where she learned much about homemaking, canning, and sewing. She (or her mother) made all her clothes (and when she had daughters, made most of theirs.)

She graduated from Atlantic High School in 1934, where she met my father, Irwin Mayberry. She played the alto saxophone in the marching band and she also played the piano. The photo below is of her modeling the latest fashions for the school newspaper.

Mom's early heroine was Amelia Earhart. Mom was very adventuresome for a young woman of her time! In 1936, she and a girlfriend boarded a train in Iowa to attend the San Diego World Exposition in California. In 1939 she travelled by bus to the eastern United States and up into Canada. When she returned, the local Farm Bureau invited her to speak to them about her observations of corn fields in Illinois. The local country schoolhouse was packed to capacity to hear her talk! (On a recent trip to California, Mom recounted this tale to me again. She was still in wonder that people would pack that schoolhouse to listen to HER!)

Mom taught country school in the one-room school house in the Pymosa Township. She has often recalled many wonderful stories such as walking to school in the winter snows, getting there early to get the stove fire going before the children arrived.

I love this photo of Mom at Camp Brewster, near Omaha.

Mom and Dad were married July 21, 1940. They had nearly 67 years of married life together.

Mom was a wonderful cook (as was Dad)! I learned much about cooking for a crowd from my mom!

After several years of marriage and five kids later and our move to California, Mom went to school for her real estate license. It amazes me now to think how she drove from Westchester (near LAX) to downtown Los Angeles at night, no freeways, to take her classes. I was in high school at the time, and went with her on a few occasions because she thought I would like a job as an escrow officer and this would be a good way to introduce me to the "business". Mom was a realtor for several years and even up until a short time ago could relate the details of an early transaction to one of her grandchildren. She was amazing!

We had a wonderful family celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary in Solvang, California.

Mom and Dad - 1991 - when health and life were good!

Mom and her five children ready for church on a Sunday morning in 1962.

Mom and Dad and five children in 1979. Love the hair styles!

Our last photo of mom and dad and we five kids and spouses in 2000.

My Mother not only gave me physical life, but she also led me to my spiritual life. In early 1950, Mom and Dad gave their hearts to Jesus Christ and were committed to seeing their children make a choice to follow Christ as well. So when I was a child of nine years of age, she asked me if I wanted to invite Jesus into my heart. I did that and became a child of God and then began my spiritual journey.

My mother has been my mentor on so many levels. I followed the example she set in maintaining a home and giving loving care to her family. I observed her in service to others, whether it be in PTA or in teaching Sunday School or working in women's ministry. I watched as she balanced home life, church life, and a real estate career that, at the time, was pretty much of a man's world. Yet, she held her own and was well-respected. Truly, much of what I am today is because of my Dear Mother. She has been the Prayer Warrior and Spiritual Rock for our family. I can't imagine life without her!

In the last few years mom would often question why she was "still here". I always responded with, "Mom your family needs you to pray for them." The last night I visited her in her own home, I heard a loud voice from her bedroom. As I went to her closed door I realized she was praying! She was pouring out her heart to the Lord praying for her children, grandchildren, and great grand-children. I must admit I had to stand there and evesdrop for a while. I thought to myself that if I never heard my mother's voice again,  I would know the last time I heard it was in prayer for her family. What a gift!

Mom joins Dad and our brother-in-law Beau, who have been waiting for her in Heaven. She leaves behind five adoring children, Carolyn Jo (Rich), Cheryl (John), Kathy, Steve, Joel (Nan), nine grandchildren who treasure their memories, and 22 great-grandchildren whom she has loved and prayed for. May God be praised!

"Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in Me. In My Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."  John 14:1-4

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Soon after we returned from Branson last Friday, these characters rang the door bell!

On their way to their friends' annual Halloween party were:  Slow Poke Rodriguez aka Brett, Big Bird aka Esther, Hippie Girl Moira, 50's Bobby soxer Audrey, Angelic Isabel, Rock star Maeve.

Esther made all of the girls' costumes from fabric, pattern, discarded costumes, from the Etc. Shop, a local thrift store. I think it cost her less than $10 for all of them!! She's been making their costumes the last several years and everyone agreed these were the best yet! You should have seen them in person! Very cute!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Lauren!

Our second oldest granddaughter is 15 today! My memory of her as a precious little newborn is as fresh as if it was yesterday.

This lovely young lady is a freshman at Oaks Christian School, who along with other classes is in honors biology and history. She's such a hard worker. Makes us all proud! Lauren is athletic, smart, and articulate. She "calls it as she sees it", and I love that about her. Above all else she is unwavering in her faith in God. How marvelous is that?!

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge -- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."
Ephesians 3:17b-21

Love you Sweetie!!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Jeremy!

Happy birthday to our son Jeremy! Our second born, husband to Renee, daddy to Maddie, loved brother and respected uncle and friend!

This man who is not ashamed to show his love for God and his family has a kind, generous, and caring heart.  He finds relaxation in a good game of golf or a comforting bowl of mac 'n cheese. He's passing on his love of good food and cooking to his little baby girl, who is not even two years old but loves to "help" cook.

"My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad; my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right." 
Proverbs 23:15-16

Birthday blessings to a wise son!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Caroline!

Happy birthday to our dear daughter-in-love, Caroline! She's not borne of my body, but lives deep in my heart, thanks to Jeff!

This is one very busy wife and mother! There are all the family school and sports schedules to keep track of, homeschool Allison, and work as an academic tutor at Oaks Christian. She's up early in the morning to get in her exercise - way earlier than I can even think of! She and Jeff co-host/lead a life group from their church. Caroline's spiritual gift is hospitality and she makes sure their home is open to many. Her love for the Lord and her husband and children is evident!

Caroline!! We love you so much and are so blessed that you are a Dewey! May God continue to pour His blessings upon your life.

"And this is my prayer that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ -- to the glory and praise of God." 
Philippians 1:9-11

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Walk Down Memory Lane - The End

Atlantic, Iowa is located in Southwestern Iowa, right on Highway 6, between Omaha and Des Moines. It's a town of 7,500 people, just about the same as when our family left in 1956! It's the county seat for Cass County and is a rural community with some light industry. Its claim to fame is that it was home to a large bottling company for Coca-Cola. It holds an annual Coca-Cola celebration that is the second largest mini-convention of Coca-Cola collectors in the United States. (Second only to Atlanta, Georgia!)

 An interesting bit of trivia is that when the town was formed in 1868, several names were proposed but Atlantic was chosen because at that time there was no other town by that name between the two oceans.

We left Atlantic for California in January 1956. It was a great place to grow up and my sisters and I have many wonderful memories there of school, neighborhoods, grandparents, visiting the farms of our aunts and uncles and lots of playing with cousins.

We began our memory trip at the beginning, in the little burg of Marne, Iowa, where Mom and Dad moved when I was a baby. Cheryl and Kathy would be born when we lived there. (We girls were all born in Atlantic. As were our brothers.)

The farm house we lived in was located on this field. When Rich and I visited in 2007 it had been torn down. It was old when we lived there 1942-1946!

We went to see the farm house where Mom grew up (sorry no photos) and then down the road to her childhood church, Buck Creek Methodist Church.

No visit is complete without checking out the outhouse. I even found a small piece of a corn cob! :)

We loved the Iowan hills. Countryside was so beautiful. The last of soybean crops were in harvest.

Uncle Johnnie and Aunt Marjorie's farm. This was a 100-year old house when Rich and I visited there in the 1970s. It was always such a beautiful farm. Johnnie kept the barn painted red, all other buildings a bright white. We remember chasing kitties, gathering eggs, learning how to milk a cow on a 3-legged stool, playing in the haymow and much more.

Uncle Glynn and Aunt Eloise's farm house. It was so wonderful to see it in such great condition.

Into town for lunch. Couldn't resist eating at this place. My initials, CJ. My sons have always said I needed to open a pie shop. This will be as close as I get to it!

A great midwestern diner, with yummy diner food. Onion rings were delish!

We all love our sweets, but this pie was a little over the top, apple with pecans and caramel. Cheryl's expression tells it all!

The five of us with the owner, Christine. What a gal! She had returned from a trip at midnight and was up at 4:30 making pies, which were delicious!

We walked the several blocks from CJ's up Main Street, to the city park. Main Street was beautiful, busy, and thriving!

Grandpa and Grandma Stevenson's house. The side arched gate was gone but otherwise it looks much the same. Even the four front lights are the originals!! An elderly man allowed us in. Clarence and Gretchen lived here when they moved off the farm, so some changes had been made. However, the bathroom has the same pink/lavender sink!

Our Spruce Street house, right across the street from Grandpa and Grandma. The front porch has been enclosed, white siding changed, and a fence put up. Other changes in the rear too. It wasn't "our house" anymore.

We walked the neighborhood where so many of our childhood memories originated.

Our Hazel Street house, the last house we lived in before moving to California. Mom says it was 75 years old when we lived it. We all remember it as a grand home. Cheryl and I were certain that we could see inside, if we just went to the front door.

Sure enough!!! The homeowner was SO gracious. She gave us the complete tour, even to upstairs bedrooms and bathroom, where the original claw foot bath tub still stands!

She has done a wonderful job of restoring it. Her dining room was our living room and her family room was our dining room. The wood paneling, plate rail (where Mom displayed her dishes) and beamed ceilings are still in place! It was precious time spent in a home we all loved!

Grandpa and Grandma Mayberry's little apartment house (in the rear) and their apartment building. It was always all white. Four apartments on each floor. Mom and Dad lived here right after they were married, as did all of Dad's siblings early in their marriages. Grandma's flower garden was where the red/white truck was parked. This was on the way from our Spruce Street house to elementary school. Cheryl and John and Kathy made that walk. I joined them at Hazel Street. Our school has been torn down. Somethings change!
We drove by other homes of aunts and uncles and business locations for our dad. So many memories to share.

Our last day was a trip to the cemetery to visit the graves of our beloved grandparents' as well as our beloved aunts and uncles, Johnnie and Marjorie, Clarence and Gretchen. Gretchen and Marjorie were Mom's sisters.

Fall was clearly in the air. We loved the changing of the leaves. It was beautiful!!! A perfect trip that meant so much to all of us. It's difficult to express how meaningful it was to share it with each other.

We spent a night in Kansas City with great BBQ and more retail therapy. This time at Nell Hill's, Kansas City. Everyone found something special to take home. All told, Rich drove about 1000 miles!

A day at home to rest up and then it was time to say farewell. Precious time with precious people!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Walk Down Memory Lane - #2

We're on our way to Atlantic, Iowa!

We needed to stretch our legs, so made a quick little stop in Cottonwood Falls, KS. This is the historic courthouse building.

Marigold Bakery and Cafe, our lunch stop in Atchison, KS. Nice little place for sandwiches and salads as well as baked goods, which of course we had to sample.

When Mom was a girl, her heroine was Amelia Earhart, so I thought a good place to visit was Amelia's birthplace home and museum in Atchison. But before we could arrive there, a little "retail therapy" was in order at Nell Hill's, Atchison. This bronze of Amelia was in the little shopping center greenbelt. She certainly was a "wisp" of a woman! So thin, I guess to fit in those small airplanes! This photo was for Mom!!

The home, actually built by Amelia's grandparents, where Amelia was born and spent many years.

Few furnishings were actual family pieces but it was decorated in the period.

Not only was Amelia an aviator, she was also an entrepreneur. That stack of luggage on the right was some of the pieces designed and manufactured by Amelia and her husband.

For such a slight woman, Amelia had large hands, or perhaps we three girls have small hands. At any rate, this is how our hand prints fit.

Portraits of Amelia and many pieces of aviation memorabilia are displayed throughout the home, as well as garments worn by Hilary Swank in the film "Amelia".

Gorgeous stained glass window in the dining room.

The house is located on a hill, just across from the Missouri River.

We loved this house which was across the street. The back side had a lovely view of the "Mighty Mo".

We left Atchison and headed for our hometown. Near Atlantic we drove by the farm where our Aunt Gretchen and Uncle Clarence lived and farmed. If my memory is correct he grew mostly soybeans and corn. Outbuildings were gone or changed, a wooden fence was in place but other than that the house looked the same. Would have loved to go inside. Our aunt and uncle didn't have indoor plumbing there until the late 1950s or very early 1960s. Can you believe it? Lots of memories from this place.

More memories to follow the next day as we walked old neighborhoods and visited the last home we lived in before moving to California.